Two boys wiggle through the last few feet of earthen tunnel and drop, one after the other, onto the concrete slab below. Small puffs of dust dance into their flashlight beams.
“Bomb shelter,” the smaller boy says. "Really old bomb shelter." His draws his beam across a shelf of cans. The labels, once displaying bright fruits and vegetables with bold words, now wear a layer of filth that mutes the colors. “S’pose there’s still anything in these cans?”
“Dunno,” the big boy mutters. Shooting from the hip with his flashlight, he lumbers to the shelf in front of him. “This one looks good.” He sets the light on the shelf and pulls the can toward him. “Heavy,” he grunts.
“Look, maybe we should go…”
“Shine your light here,” the big boy says. He pulls a shiny device from his pocked and digs around the lip of the can. The tiny machine makes a dull hum as it cuts through steel.
“Really, should you open that? It’s been down here for what, a couple hundred years…”
“Shut up.” The big boy folds his tool and latches onto the can lid with his fingertips. He peels back the metal disc and fumbles for his flashlight. A crash sounds, followed by the metallic thunk of cans hitting the slab floor.
The big boy frowns, turns to the can, and shines his light inside. A smile creeps over his frown. “No shit,” he mumbles, thrusting his hand inside. A moment later he fishes out a few limp, pale-green tubular objects. “Green beans.” He brings them to his nose and sniffs. “Still good, too.”
“You’re not going to…”
"Watch me." The big boy pushes a few beans into his mouth. “Well-aged,” he mumbles through the green mush.
Now you know why I don' write science fiction.
I'm holding on to the other titles, hoping to make something out of "Rats with Long Legs" and "Hard Pressed". This little ditty is for Robert Swartwood: a story (almost) shorter than the title.
"How Many Times Do I Have To Tell You That The Dog Ate My Homework, Madonna Spit In My Face, And Aliens Abducted Me Three Times But Only Probed Me Once?"
"It wasn't even painful," Marcy said.
June frowned. "Getting the F on your paper?"
"Oh," June said, nodding. "That."
"Of course, it would have been nice if I didn't have to ask. I figured 'third time's a charm'. Right?"
Have a fantastic weekend.